In the World News
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced that all people who have received a FDA authorized Covid-19 vaccine could travel safely within the United States, and they would no longer have to get tested before or after travel unless required by the destination. Fully vaccinated people will now no longer will be required to wear masks while indoors or outdoors nor will they have to physically distance. However, facial coverings will still be required on public transportation such as buses, trains and airplanes. In April, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) extended enforcement of the mask order through September 13, 2021.
In related news, the Hawaiian Governor, David Ige, announced that Hawaii would not lift its mandatory mask mandate due to potential enforcement issues with determining who was vaccinated. More than half of Hawaii's residents have not been vaccinated. Until they reach 70% to 80% of the population being vaccinated, they will continue to wear masks for the good of all residents.
Blue Diamond Resorts will be reopening their Royalton St. Lucia on May 21, 2021. The resort closed in February due to the spread of Covid-19 and a lack of international visitors.
Royalton Saint Lucia Resort and Spa is an all-inclusive resort that invites guests of all ages to vacation in an upscale environment in style and comfort. The resort features modern facilities, friendly staff, fascinating local culture, and world-class cuisine.
Royalton Saint Lucia Resort and Spa, photo credit: Blue Diamond Resorts
Now Jade Riviera Cancun, Now Onyx Punta Cana and Now Sapphire Riviera Cancun are undergoing brand changes to become part of Dreams® Resorts & Spas.
On June 15, 2021, Now Onyx Punta Cana will become Dreams Onyx Resort & Spa. Property enhancements & upgrades include:
320 new Premium Jr. Suites offering 272 connecting rooms and 16 Two-Bedroom Family Suites to accommodate large families
Jungle water park featuring four water slides, a lazy river and a pool bar featuring a swim-up bar
A lounge area with a bar at the Family Section check-in
Two new restaurants: Mexican restaurant, Tamarindo, and Mediterranean restaurant, Cin Cin
A newly built Bluewater Grill with an outdoor terrace, a renovated and enlarged Capers restaurant, and a renovated Spice restaurant with an additional teppanyaki table for up to 24 people
New outdoor deck offering more space for the Carnival international buffet restaurant
New two-story Core Zone Teen’s Club featuring a rock-climbing wall, basketball court and archery, as well as pool tables
New Explorer’s Club for Kids including a playground, painting room, splash zone and small stage
On June 30, 2021, Now Jade Riviera Cancun will become Dreams Jade Resort & Spa. Enhancements and upgrades include:
Renovations to the Italian restaurant Capers, Mexican restaurant Tamarindo, Asian restaurant Spice, Carnival buffet restaurant, Mix bar, Barefoot Grill and Scores bar
The addition of Time Out bar and big screen TV, weddings showroom, vertical gardens, wood oven and mini golf
Enhancements completed to the theater, wedding terrace, lobby, gym, spa, shopping area, main garden, Core Zone Teen’s Club and oceanfront terrace
All pools have been upgraded to heated pools
On October 22, 2021, Now Sapphire Riviera Cancun will become Dreams Sapphire Resort & Spa. Enhancements and upgrades include:
Beach Front Heated Swim Out Suites room category with beach and oceanfront views
Family Suites room category, perfect for accommodating larger families and big groups
New Master Suite room categories
Renovated modern suites throughout the property
New front desk area
New contemporary lobby and lobby bar
Renovated sports bar with a completely new look
Renovations to Lemongrass (Asian cuisine), Paramour (French cuisine), and Coco Café
Renovations to the spa with a fresh new look, plus a brand new bridal suite and additional cabins for single services
Family waterpark equipped with slides for both adults and children
Splash park and toddler pool added to the Explorer’s Club for Kids
Brand new Core Zone Teen’s Club
Beachfront wedding venue accommodating up to 120 people
Renovated and enhanced fitness center with new air-conditioned yoga room
Enhanced room décor at Dreams Sapphire Resort & Spa, photo credit: AMResorts®
The Palladium Hotel Group is encouraging all of their employees in the Dominican Republic to receive a Covid vaccination. The Hotel Group planned to administer vaccines to all of their employees that wish to receive it by the end of April. While Palladium Hotel Group is not requiring employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine, the hotel group is highly recommending it.
“By implementing this vaccination program, Palladium Hotel Group hopes to position its properties as one of the safest vacation resorts in the destination, just in time for summer travel” said Pilar Arizmendi-Stewart, VP of Sales and Marketing for the Americas for Palladium Hotel Group. “We support the Dominican Republic’s rigorous vaccination efforts and are committed to making COVID-19 vaccines easily accessible to our dedicated staff” she added.
Palladium Hotel Group remains the number one choice for a fun and safe vacation for every type of traveler. There are six Palladium properties in the Dominican Republic. TRS Cap Cana Hotel offers an exclusive stay in an adults-only seafront hotel. Grand Palladium Palace Resort, Spa & Casino, Grand Palladium Bávaro Suites Resort & Spa, and Grand Palladium Punta Cana Resort & Spa, all residing in the same complex, offers world-class services and thrilling entertainment for couples, friends and families. TRS Turquesa Hotel is perfect for those looking to visit Punta Cana and stay at an adults-only beachfront hotel, offers couples seeking a romantic vacation or groups of friends looking to enjoy a relaxing trip, the privacy and personalized service of an exclusive VIP getaway. Dominican Fiesta Hotel & Casino is located in one of the quietest and most elegant areas of Dominican Republic’s capital city, Santo Domingo.
Karisma Hotels & Resorts has announced the opening of its newest all-inclusive resort in the Dominican Republic, Margaritaville Island Reserve Cap Cana, welcoming guests in October 2021. The laid-back, beachy vibe will make this resort the perfect place for people who value exceptional quality without any pretense.
The resort features 228 suites and 40 spectacular luxury villas with private balcony pools, and guests may experience exceptional culinary and beverage options, and live entertainment every day and night in the Gourmet Village. For guests aged 4-12, the Parakeets Kids’ Club will be the favorite hang out. There is a wide range of activities for all, including non-motorized water spots, a tennis court, and a pickleball court. Fins Up! is the resort's fitness Center with free fitness classes, and guests may enjoy the two beautiful pools and access to one of the world’s best beaches, Juanillo Beach.
Broadway is being given the green light to restart in September after being shut down for about a year and a half. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo tweeted, "Broadway shows will be ready to open September 14 at 100% capacity.” Tickets should already be on sale.
Anguilla had initiated a lockdown in April due to a surge in Covid-19 in the country, but they have announced they will be reopening to tourists on May 25, 2021. Fully vaccinated visitors will need to quarantine for seven days upon arrival, and nonvaccinated visitors must quarantine for 10 to 14 days.
All travelers must still apply to visit, provide proof of health insurance coverage, and produce a negative PCR test performed within three to five days of arrival. They must also take another PCR test upon arrival and at the end of their quarantine. Individuals must pay the Entry Application Fee of $300 for the first visitor and $200 for each additional person.
Theme Park News
Walt Disney World
Walt Disney World has made updates to their health and safety protocols for guests visiting the Walt Disney World Resort
Face coverings are required for all Guests (ages 2 and up) and Cast Members. Please bring your own face coverings and wear them in all indoor locations, except when actively eating or drinking while stationary and maintaining appropriate physical distancing. Face coverings are optional in outdoor common areas at Walt Disney World Resort, but are still required upon entering and throughout all attractions, theaters and transportation.
Face Covering Required
Upon entering and throughout all attractions
All theaters, including theater entrances
All transportation, including transportation entrances
All indoor locations, including restaurants, except when actively eating or drinking while stationary
Face Coverings Optional
Outdoor common areas
Please note, face coverings are not permitted while experiencing water slides or in the water.
Temporary adjustments are still in place to promote physical distancing. While they will reduce physical distancing measures for guests across many areas with a gradual, phased approach, six-feet distancing measures will continue in all dining locations, merchandise stores and in areas where guests can temporarily remove their masks.
They began the phasing out of temperature checks at the theme parks and Disney Springs as of May 16, 2021.
The Universal Orlando Resort has updated some of their safety policies in regards to Covid-19. "We’re excited to enhance your Universal experience with the latest safety updates from local health and government officials. There are no more temperature checks upon entry. And Social Distancing between travel parties is now reduced to three feet (1 meter). Still, most of our original safety protocols remain unchanged—from wearing face coverings across our Resort to our ongoing dedication to cleanliness and sanitization."
Face coverings are not mandatory while outdoors.
Face coverings are still required in all indoor locations including shops and restaurants.
Face coverings are required at all attractions—from the moment the queue begins until the exit of the experience.
Guests must still provide their own face covering.
Social Distancing between travel parties remains at three feet (1 meter).
Universal Studios Florida will be opening a new tribute store to celebrate the introduction of the Jurassic World VelociCoaster which will grand open on June 10th. An opening date for the Jurassic World Tribute Store has not yet been given.
photo credit: Universal Orlando Resort
SeaWorld Orlando & Busch Gardens Tampa
Based on the recently announced guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, they are modifying their policy regarding face coverings at SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica Orlando, Discovery Cove, Busch Gardens, and Adventure Island. Face coverings will no longer be required for guests at SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica Orlando, Discovery Cove, Busch Gardens Tampa and Adventure Island who are fully vaccinated in accordance with CDC guidance. They will not require proof of vaccine, but will ask guests to respectfully comply with their revised policy. All park employees will be required to continue to wear face coverings at this time. The safety of guests, Ambassadors and animals in their care remains their top priority. They will continue to monitor and address this changing environment as necessary.
The U.S. Senate has unanimously passed new legislation that will temporarily allow cruise ships to sail to Alaska and not hold them to the restrictions of the Passenger Vessel Services Act. The PVSA, which was enacted in 1886, requires foreign-flagged ships, which almost all large cruise vessels are, to stop in at least one foreign port when sailing between two U.S. destinations. Due to Canada placing a ban against large cruise ships from coming into one of their ports, Alaskan tourism has been severely impacted. This ban is in place until February 28, 2022.
The Alaska Tourism Restoration Act , sponsored by Alaska's Republican senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, only applies to large cruise ships taking passengers between the states of Washington and Alaska. and is the reason Alaska cruises start or stop in Vancouver or Victoria, British Columbia.
The bill still needs to go before the House of Representatives to be voted in. The legislation would terminate the PVSA waiver either when Canada drops its cruise ban, or on March 31, 2022.
Ovation of the Seas, photo credit: Royal Caribbean International
Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian has announced their newest ship, Norwegian Prima which will be cruising the Caribbean, Bermuda, and Europe beginning Summer 2022. Prima will be the first generation in this new class of ships. There will be six ships in the Prima Class in the next six years.
She will be 965 ft long, have 20 decks, and carry 3,215 guests and 1,386 crews.
She will feature wide open indoor and outdoor spaces, a thoughtful design, and a variety of experiences beyond guest expectations, and service that puts guests first.
Ocean Boulevard is a 44,000 sq. ft area that goes around the perimeter of the ship with attractions, restaurants, bars, outdoor seating areas, infinity pools, and an outdoor sculpture garden.
Infinity Beach features expansive pool decks and lounging areas, daybeds surrounded by water, and there is one infinity pool on port side and one on starboard side.
Oceanwalk is a glass bridge extending off the side of the ship for guests to enjoy the ocean and the fresh air.
The Concourse will feature an outdoor sculpture garden of six sculptures by artist Alexander Krivosheiw
Indulge Food Hall is an indoor/outdoor food area with 11 mini-restaurants and food trucks of diverse cuisine.
There will be other dining options as well: Casual dining - Local Bar & Grill, premium dining - Los Lobos, and Fine Dining - Onda by Scarpetta.
The Haven is an elevated accommodation choice in the aft portion of the ship to allow guests a larger open area looking out towards the sea.
private infinity pool, sundeck, spa, restaurant, lounge & bar
all suites are within walking distance to the private elevators
107 suites, some with expansive balconies and outdoor hot tubs
13 different Haven suite categories, accommodating 2 to 6 guests
Accommodations include inside staterooms, studios for solo passengers with private lounge, and oceanview staterooms. The cabins are designed with a boutique-like feel for guest comfort with increased bathroom spaces.
Prima will have a 10 day northern Europe cruise initially as well as a transatlantic to bring her to N. America to port in Galveston for a southern Caribbean itinerary to end in Miami. She will spend her winters going out of Miami, Port Canaveral, and New York.
Itineraries are open to reserve through summer of 2023.
Silversea's new ship, Silver Origin, will be returning to the Galápagos Islands to start her inaugural season on June 19, 2021. All crew and passengers will be expected to have full vaccinations, which is part of their comprehensive, multi-layered set of science-backed protocols that will help to safeguard the health and safety of guests, crew, and visited communities. Silver Origin will have two alternating itineraries which will include calls in the islands of Santa Fe, Fernandina, and Isabela.
Roberto Martinoli, Silversea’s president and CEO, stated “we extend our sincerest gratitude to the Ecuadorian government and the Galápagos Government Council for their ongoing cooperation and their willingness to welcome cruising back to this remarkable archipelago. The first ship to join our fleet since Silversea joined the Royal Caribbean Group and our cruise line’s first destination-specific ship, Silver Origin, is unique in her elegance. Following an extended period at home, our guests are eager to continue their discovery of our planet, and there are few destinations that inspire travelers with such unique natural beauty as the Galápagos Islands.”
Fernando Delgado, vice president and general manager of Silversea Ecuador, also stated, “...and with Silver Origin offering the highest expert guide-to-guest ratio (1:10) and the highest Zodiac-to-guest ratio (1:12.5) in the region, travelers will enjoy the most iconic experiences on offer with unprecedented insight and access...."
photo credit: Silversea
Azamara, which is a line of small, luxury cruises focused Destination Immersion® experiences, has presented their plan for return to service with three upcoming cruises as well as the health and safety protocols that have been implemented. They are a part of the “Healthy Sail Panel” which is a team of cross-disciplinary experts enlisted to guide the cruise industry’s way forward in response to COVID-19. Comprised of globally recognized specialists in public health, infectious diseases, hospitality and maritime operations, the panel will advise them on a science-backed plan for a healthy return to service that ensures the wellbeing of guests and crew as well as the communities they visit.
Several ports and regions are starting to welcome travelers back and encourage cruising. Azamara been approved to resume sailing again at the end of August 2021, with a series of new Greece Intensive voyages aboard the Azamara Quest. As a result, they need to cancel all current Quest sailings departing on or before October 2nd, 2021.
Unfortunately, as travel requirements throughout most of Europe remain unconfirmed, they’ve had to make the difficult decision to cancel the following voyages as well:
Azamara Journey sailings departing on July 16, 2021 through September 29, 2021
Azamara Pursuit sailings departing on July 10, 2021 through September 14, 2021
Impacted guests have the choice of a Future Cruise Credit, 100% refund, or to "Lift and Sift" their reservation. Through this option, you can keep the cruise vacation plans to the same destination and move the existing booking to a 2022 sailing within four weeks of the originally scheduled sailing.
Ships to be in operation:
Azamara Quest®: August 28, 2021 - Azamara Quest will start the Europe season with a series of new Greece Intensive voyages sailing roundtrip from Athens (Piraeus), Greece.
Azamara Journey®: October 13, 2021 - Azamara Journey will start the late Europe season with her originally scheduled 12-night Greece Intensive voyage from Athens (Piraeus), Greece.
Azamara Pursuit®: September 28, 2021 - Azamara Pursuit will start the Europe season with her originally scheduled 11-night Greece Intensive voyage from Athens (Piraeus), Greece to Civitavecchia (Rome), Italy.
Carnival Cruise Lines
Carnival Cruise Lines is planning on operating four ships in July:
Carnival Vista (beginning July 3) from Galveston
Carnival Breeze (beginning July 15) from Galveston
Carnival Horizon (beginning July 4) from Miami.
Carnival Miracle from Seattle (beginning July 27 pending approval)
Carnival Freedom has remained on the East Coast, but it will not be operating out of Alaska this summer. Carnival plans to reposition the Carnival Miracle to assume Alaska sailings out of Seattle this summer, effective July 27, 2021, pending approval from authorities to sail Alaska.
Carnival Freedom guests on sailings from July 27 – September 14, 2021 will automatically be moved to Carnival Miracle.
After May 18, 2021, impacted guests may cancel and receive a full refund if they do not want to travel on Miracle.
All other U.S. embarkations are cancelled through July 30, including Carnival Breeze sailings from July 1 through and including July 10 and Carnival Freedom sailings from Seattle, July 6 though and including July 20. Additionally, Carnival Miracle sailings from Long Beach, from July 2 through and including September 20, are also cancelled.
Guests on cancelled sailings may elect Carnival's enhanced value offer of a Future Cruise Credit plus an On Board Credit, or a full refund. Guests may manage the cancellation online to select their choice of FCC or a refund.
Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy presented Miss Dominican Republic Kimberly Jiménez with the “Spirit of Carnival” award for embodying the company’s values of fun, friendship, diversity and inclusion during the MISS UNIVERSE broadcast, and bestowed her the honor of serving as godmother to the line’s newest and most innovative ship, Mardi Gras, set to debut from Port Canaveral, FL, later this year.
Princess Cruises has released a statement regarding some upcoming cruises. "While Princess Cruises continues to work with various government and port authorities to finalize its additional plans for return to cruising and due to ongoing international travel restrictions, the company is cancelling the following cruise vacations:"
California Coast and Mexico sailings on Ruby Princess through August 21, 2021
Caribbean sailings on Caribbean Princess through August 21, 2021
Remaining 2021 Mediterranean season on Enchanted Princess
Impacted guests are being offered a choice of a 100% refund to original form of payment, a Future Cruise Credit for 100% of the fare paid plus 10%, or guests may choose to move to an equivalent cruise in 2021 or 2022. Guests must use the online form by June 15, 2021 to make their selection or they will automatically receive a Future Cruise Credit.
Princess is hoping to preserve their Alaska 2021 cruise season through their discussions with U.S. and Canadian government officials.
Celebrity Cruises has made the determination that they can safely sail in the Galapagos this summer. Starting July 4, 2021, Celebrity Flora® will set sail on 7-Night Galapagos Island itineraries followed by Celebrity Xpedition® on July 24 and Celebrity Xploration® on September 18. Celebrity Cruises will therefore be suspending all Galapagos sailings scheduled to depart before the above noted return to service dates.
Impacted guests are being given option to be re-accommodated on another Celebrity Cruises Galapagos vacation on a Celebrity Xpedition or Xploration sailing within four weeks of the originally scheduled departure, to receive a 125% Future Cruise Credit (FCC), or to receive a 100% Refund.
Disney Cruise Line
Disney Cruise Line continues to work closely with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to carefully review and implement their recently released guidance and refine their protocols for a responsible and gradual return to service in U.S. waters. Given the ongoing nature of these discussions and the time needed to staff and prepare their ships, Disney Cruise Line is canceling all Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy sailings through July 2021, and all Disney Wonder sailings through July 12, 2021.
They are offering affected guests that have paid their reservation in full the choice of a 125% future cruise credit to be used for a future sailing on or before September 30, 2022, or a full refund. The credit has automatically been added to their account and can be applied as a payment option when booking a new reservation online. Guests that have not paid their reservations in full will automatically receive a refund of what they have paid so far.